21 Cool Desserts for Hot Weather
Hot weather calls for refreshing, cool desserts. Discover 21 great takes on cool desserts—fresh fruit to smoothies to ice cream, sorbet, and more.
Summer brings special opportunities for seasonal desserts that are lighter, fresher, and cooler. Warm-weather desserts are also generally simpler, all the better to let the quality of the ingredients—juicy fruit, indulgent ice cream and refreshing sorbets, exotic spices—shine brighter. Dessert beverages also hold special appeal when the temperatures rise.
Yes, ice cream. But also sorbet, granitas, ice pops, gelato, and all kinds of frozen specialties.
- Double down with a selection of different premium ice creams beyond the usual van-choc-straw.
- Create a soft-serve specialty dessert using inclusions like like nuts, candy pieces, chocolate morsels, crumbled cookies, dried fruit, and other ingredients.
- Housemade soft serve in unusual flavors like matcha, sweet cream, saffron, and honey has become a specialty on many on-trend menus.
- Explore ice pops and paletas in unusual flavors like jalapeño pineapple, coffee milk, or watermelon lemonade.
- Go old school with an ice cream sandwich crafted from gelato or premium ice cream and housemade cookies.
- Get in on global dessert trends with Italian semifreddo or tartufo, Filipino halo-halo, French frozen chocolate mousse, or Indian kulfi.
- Offer a sundae bar or DIY sundae at the table with caddies of toppings like cookie crumbles or chocolate chips, syrups, whipped cream, and other enhancements.
Who says dessert has to be cake or pie? Warmer weather represents the perfect opportunity to menu refreshing dessert beverages.
- Offer coffee and yogurt smoothies (an excellent use for leftover coffee, by the way).
- Menu a specialty malt or milkshake in a flavor like mocha or salted caramel, topped with whipped cream, cookie crumbles, and a drizzle of flavored syrup.
- Create an after-dinner pousse-café (French for “coffee pusher”) with floating layers of spirits with different colors and specific gravities.
- Layer creamy lemonade (lemonade mixed with sweetened condensed milk) with strawberry purée in a tall glass; serve with an iced tea spoon.
- Shake up hot cocoa mix, ice, and milk into a Frozen Hot Chocolate. Top with whipped cream and chocolate chips.
- Encourage customers to cool off with mango lassi, a filling, sweet yogurt and fruit drink by way of India.
- Brush up on the classic egg cream, done tableside for extra drama.
Plain and Fancy Fruit
The summer months are high season for juicy fruits like peaches, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, plums, cherries, and raspberries, as well as watermelon and other melons.
- Baste halved stone fruits like peaches with butter and brown sugar, or roast berries with five spice or cardamom, and serve with crème fraiche, zabaglione, or Greek yogurt.
- Switch up strawberry shortcake with other summertime fruits, such as nectarines.
- Serve a classic fruit cobbler, crisp, buckle, or Betty, with or without heavy cream or ice cream.
- Feature a fruit pie or rustic crostata of the evening, such as three berry, strawberry rhubarb, or peach.
- Macerate cut fruits in spirits or liqueur—rum, Kirsch, Chambord—and a spice like star anise or Sichuan peppercorns for a sophisticated take on fruit salad, garnished with toasted pound cake “croutons” or sesame brittle.
- Pair a perfect slice of ripe melon with biscotti, sesame cookies, or another crisp, simple cookie.
- Top cheesecake with glazed fresh fruit, or deconstruct the concept into a parfait with shortbread, cream cheese custard, and fruit.
Source: Datassential Keynote Report, Dessert’s Sweet Spot (2019)
The information provided is based on a general industry overview, and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.
- Ice cream or frozen yogurt was the top dessert most recently consumed, as indicated by 25% of consumers surveyed
- Sales of dessert beverages increased the most of any dessert category, up 50% over year-earlier figures
- Savory ingredients are growing fastest on frozen-dessert menus: Salted caramel grew 150% in the past four years, and sea salt and pretzel nearly doubled in that period
- Cheesecakes can be quickly customized for different taste preferences with the addition of sweet toppings such as caramel sauce, coulis, or compote
- Experiment with global cookies like churros and macarons for an ice cream sandwich or as crumbled mix-ins with shakes, blended beverages, and soft serve “concretes”
- Upgrade pie crust with functional ingredients such as chia seeds, crunchy elements like crushed pretzels or nuts, or flavorful spices to add an extra kick
Nestlé®Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie Spread is a great addition to sundaes, soft-serve, and other frozen desserts.